Additional P50M for unrestored Busa section slammed

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SABANGAN, Mountain Province – An anti-graft and corruption advocate questioned the public works department for allegedly releasing some P50 million in additional funds for the restoration and rehabilitation of the road cut along the Busa section of the Halsema Highway when the earlier project that had been provided similar funds was not completed by the contractor.

In his series of letters addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte, Budget Secretary Wendel Avizado, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), Juniper Dominguez questioned the DPWH and the contractor to show proof on how the first brand new H-beams were installed and if these were the approved size.

Further, he also raised concern if there was materials testing on the strength and size of the H-beams and what were the second hand H-beams doing on site.

He lamented at how the DPWH is allowing the contractor to allegedly collect more than 30 percent of the earlier P50.7 million allocated for the project but the accomplishment was said to be more or less 10 percent, which is not commensurate to the public funds that were disbursed for the project.

According to him, there were also several variation orders issued for the project but these are doubtful, thus, the need for the DPWH to come out with an acceptable explanation to erase doubt from the minds of the people as the contractor reportedly committed a blunder in the implementation of the initial funds allocated for these.

Dominguez argued that because of the delay in the implementation of the first phase of the project, there should have been liquidated damages deducted from the first partial payment paid by the agency to the contractor.

He also brought to the attention of the DPWH to check on approved size of the gabions and the actual size used in the project.

Dominguez stipulated it is unfortunate that the budget department released another P50 million for the highly controversial project when the agency did not yet complete the restoration of the damaged portion of the main highway leading to and from Mountain Province, thus, he is calling for the agency to investigate the alleged controversies related to the implementation of the project.

The Busa section of the Halsema Highway was cut during Typhoon Ompong’s visit causing it to be closed until the installation of the temporary Bailey Bridge being currently traversed by light vehicles.

The contractor of the project is said to be an alleged relative of a ranking official of the municipality where the project was awarded after he submitted a bid of 15 percent below the agency budget cap provided by the agency for the important project. By HENT

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